Discover the History of York | An Insight into the Medieval City
Keen to discover the rich history of York?
This week, we’re delving into the fascinating depths of our beautiful city, exploring the architecture and uncovering the best places to discover more about its past.
The History of York: Original Inhabitants
It's thought that settlements in York date back to the Mesolithic era, but the Romans founded the city as we know it today in 71 AD. They conquered York - back then known as ‘Eboracum’ - and ruled there for three centuries.
Having conquered the city in 866 AD, the Vikings ruled for 100 years - and during this time, they helped it to prosper with their craftsmanship, artistry and engineering skills. Their legacy lives on, with streets such as Petergate and Stonegate taking their name from the Scandi word for ‘road,’ which is ‘gata’.
Discover More in the Jorvik Viking Centre
The Jorvik Viking Centre is a treasure trove full of interesting facts, taking you on a journey of the fascinating history of York.
Located in the heart of the city, the Jorvik Viking Centre is a popular attraction for tourists. It provides a detailed insight into life in York through the ages and focuses on the Viking’s 100-year ruling of Jorvik, exploring the ways they lived, worked and ruled.
Perfect for a family day out, the centre features state-of-the-art galleries. There's also a ride experience that tours through the centre, showcasing the artefacts on display throughout.
The History of York: Georgian Townhouses
The architecture in York is magnificent. The towering buildings with intricate detail are a work of art and will be sure to captivate your imagination as you explore the city.
York experienced a ‘building boom’ at a time when architects were experimenting with style. This resulted in an array of stunning structures. New materials were coming in at the time and, as a result, there’s a vibrant mix of red brick and timber-framed houses.
Some of the notable Georgian buildings include The Assembly Rooms, Mansion House and Fairfax House.
The History of York Minster
800 years old, the majestic medieval cathedral showcases both Norman and Gothic architecture. It took 250 years to build, with works finally finishing in 1472. One of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe, the beautiful structure is an integral feature of the York cityscape.
Discover the City Walls
The Romans built the York city walls in 71 AD. They were originally erected as part of the city’s defences when the Romans established a 50-acre fort near the River Ouse.
As the magnesian limestone walls are over 700 years old, they sustained a significant amount of wear over the years. The walls underwent restoration works 150 years ago to enable the public to walk on them.
The elevated walls encircle the city, offering unique views of York and providing an insight into the magnitude of the Roman Fort they were once surrounding. An integral part of York’s history and a popular tourist destination, the walls are an unmissable attraction when you visit the city.
If you’d like to explore York further, why not read our previous blog to discover the best walks in the city?